Rise and shine — it’s time to celebrate World Sleep Day!
Organized by the World Association of Sleep Medicine, the annual global event aims to spread awareness of the benefits of healthy sleep. This year’s theme is sleep disorders, including insomnia and hypersomnia — excessive sleepiness — as well as parasomnias, an umbrella term that covers abnormal behaviors during sleep, such as sleepwalking, night terrors and even sleep sex.
“When sleep fails, health declines, decreasing quality of life,” the World Association of Sleep Medicine warns.
Even though the majority of sleep disorders are preventable or treatable, less than one-third of sufferers seek treatment from a professional.
Many adults who don’t suffer from a sleep disorder still have problems getting enough shut-eye, of course. A large new study from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention might surprise you, though — it found that a 65.2 percent of Americans reported getting seven or more hours of sleep at night, the amount recommended for optimal health and well-being.
That still means that more than a third of U.S. adults aren’t getting enough sleep, which could result in a greater risk of obesity, heart disease, mental illness, diabetes and other chronic conditions. The CDC has even labeled inadequate sleep as “a public health problem.”
No wonder so many sleep-related products, good and bad, exist to help people sleep better.
If you’re one of the millions who need help getting more sleep, the World Sleep Day website features a list of “10 Commandments of Sleep Hygiene for Adults.” The tips include:
1. Establish a regular bedtime and waking time.
2. If you are in the habit of taking siestas, do not exceed 45 minutes of daytime sleep.
3. Avoid excessive alcohol ingestion 4 hours before bedtime, and do not smoke.
4. Avoid caffeine 6 hours before bedtime. This includes coffee, tea and many sodas, as well as chocolate.
5. Avoid heavy, spicy, or sugary foods 4 hours before bedtime. A light snack before bed is acceptable.
6. Exercise regularly, but not right before bed.
7. Use comfortable, inviting bedding.
8. Find a comfortable sleep temperature setting and keep the room well ventilated.
9. Block out all distracting noise and eliminate as much light as possible.
10. Reserve your bed for sleep and sex, avoiding its use for work or general recreation.
If these tips fail to do the trick, or if you think you might have a more serious sleep problem, consult a doctor.